Norway’s best kept wedding secret: kransekake
My cousin just married his long-time Norwegian girlfriend and the reception of course featured some elements of the bride’s cultural heritage. For me, the best Norwegian contribution was by far the wedding cake – a majestic centrepiece called kransekake.
Kransekake is the signature Norwegian wedding cake, also to be found in both Denmark and Iceland. The cake, which translates to ring cake or wreath cake, is usually eaten on special celebratory occasions such as weddings, baptisms and New Year’s Eve.
As its name suggests, kransekake is made out of a series of concentric rings of almond cake, layered on top of each other in order to form a tall, pyramid-shaped tower. Since the rings are made out of sugar, egg whites and fresh ground almonds, the kransekake is a brilliant flourless, gluten-free alternative to a traditional wedding cake.
Apart from being absolutely delicious (literally everyone was gushing about it), it was pretty much like eating a work of art. Traditionally decorated with Norwegian flags and an intricate white icing pattern (which also functioned as the glue that held this impressive cake together) the kransekake also came with white lace ribbons and fresh flowers. It was truly fit for a royal, and I am sure that Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Norwegian Crown Princess and one of my favourite celebrities, would have been proud!
When serving the cake, the happy couple cut down through the number of rings that represented the number of children they would like to have (to my surprise, a whopping five). The top of the kransekake was then put aside and saved for good luck. The remaining cake rings were broken into small pieces and shared among the guests, symbolizing the blessing of the newlyweds. As we ate our way through the cake I was surprised to discover that it’s hollow centre was hiding a bottle of high quality Aquavit that we shared later that night – another Norwegian tradition!
The kransekake was a beautiful way to celebrate the love between the adorable couple we had all gathered there for.
How about it? Would you have a kransekake at your wedding?